Medicare users - do you carry your Medicare card with you?

Any time I want medical care or prescriptions, it seems, I have to present my Medicare card. Therefore I generally carry it with me all the time (mostly for fear I would forget to bring it when I needed it).

Which would all be fine except that it has my social security number on it (“disguised” as my Medicare number by adding a letter at the end). To me this seems like bad security. If someone were to steal my wallet, they would have my name and address (from my driver’s license) and my social security number, not to mention a couple of debit cards and a credit card. With that information, it seems like it would be a lot easier to do identity theft than it would without the SS number.

Is this the gaping security hole that it seems to be? If so, why does Medicare do things this way? Do you take any special precautions because of this?

Someone at Medicare didn’t really think this one out. It has always baffled me.

I scanned it, blocked out part of my SS#, printed & laminated it.

So far it has not been rejected. If asked, I supply the missing numbers.

I don’t carry it or my MediGap card full time. Only when I go to the Dr.

I carry mine, but I have a Medicare Complete plan, so that’s the card I present. It doesn’t have my Social Security number on it.

Same here. Scanned it, blurred part of my SS#, resized the image,* printed, laminated. Never a problem, never been asked for the obscured numbers.

  • Trimmed and reduced the image just a little, so that when laminated the card was still the same size as a credit card.

Yep. Forgot about that part.

What they always want to see is my supplemental insurance card, which doesn’t have my SS# on it. Nobody has ever asked for the actual Medicare card, which I keep at home.

I’m not on Medicare, but my parents recently retired and signed up. I took care of both of my grandmothers until they passed away in 2012 and 2015 and I always had an issue with the SSN as the Medicare ID number. I let Medicare know on several occasions that it was a safety risk to carry that around. One of my grandmas drew SS off of my grandfather’s work record, so her Medicare ID was his SSN (and he died in 2007).

Here in Georgia, and in many other states, SS numbers were used as Driver’s License #s until about 20 years ago. Medicare needs to catch up!

I will mention that I rarely needed the Medicare card for either of them after our first visit to a doctor or pharmacy. Most of them scan the card and their ID, then keep it in their computer for future visits. If you frequent a doctor or pharmacy that requests your card every time, ask them if it is possible to keep a copy of your card on file so you don’t have to bring it each time.

KEEP complaining to Medicare about the use of your SS number. Maybe if they hear it enough, they’ll actually do something???

I just had to replace my Medicare card. I told the person that I spoke to that if they would let me laminate it, it wouldn’t get torn up all the time. He verified that you are not supposed to laminate the card, although it doesn’t say so on the card (although it might on the attached information). I know your Social Security card states that is not to be laminated.

I never carry either of these cards. The Social Security card says not to and I use my the card from my part B supplemental insurance company and have never been asked for the Medicare card.


actually since they should copy your cards on your first visit and put them in your file unless the card expires or you change companies you shouldn’t need to show it every time if you go to the same place …

This thread has dredged up some old memories.

Sometime in the last decade my insurer, Premera, issued new cards with my SSN as the ID. I complained and the issued new cards to everyone in the company.

On the other hand, I still have an Army duffel bag stenciled with the same number…

I carry both cards because I know if I didn’t, I would lose them.

Yes. I also carry my Medi-cal (medicaid) card with me. I’m asked for it often.
HIJACK: Why are SS Cards & Medicare Cards still paper?

True, but in the last month I have seen two referral physicians who also needed it. Like I said above, I’m always afraid I won’t have it when I need it for something.

To those who say you scanned and laminated it, do you mean you scanned both sides and printed a 2-sided copy, and laminated that? I assume it was a color copy. That sounds worth trying.